Reversible Burda 2015-10-109 Sweater

This one snuck in just as I resumed my SWAP Fall/Winter 2014…Because a slouchy pullover seemed so overwhelmingly right for this double-sided sweater knit.

The Pattern

To be honest I wasn’t entirely sure about this sweater pattern. I can’t decide if it’s ugly or is it cool. The low-lying horizontal styleline might draw too much attention to my low-hanging boob / middle age spread. This + the curved shoulder seams also look a bit American footballer-ish at the same time constrictive – as I’ve learnt from a previous Burda cape project with similar shoulder shaping. But as I’m using a knit, & I’m not afraid to tinker with commercial patterns, I thought I’d give it a go. I can always test with muslin first.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 TopShop Martha jeans; 2 Self-drafted straight skirt; 3 Re-fashioned gore skirt;

WORN WITH: 4 Burda 2015-03-116 flare trousers; 5 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt, Burda 2013-11-117 jacket, Self-drafted hat, Self-drafted mittens; 6-7 Self-drafted petticoat skirt; 8 Refashioned straight skirt;

Size Used

34 rather than recommended 36.

Changes Made

With the above doubts in mind, I was merciless with the pattern tweak even before I sewn up the first muslin.

  1. Shorten Yokes: Initially I remove an equal 2″. But when I made up the muslin, the styleline dip at the biceps & front. So I ended up shortening the front & sides further. Also, raising this seam lines also shortens them. As I was concerned about looking short-waisted & chunky – especially in a thick sweater knit – I opted to slim down the bodices & sleeves to match.
  2. Raise armholes: Again, paranoid looking short, I raised the armholes on the bodice & slim the sleeves the same amount to match so it won’t look like I only have like 3″ of torso.
  3. Forward shoulder adjustment: In the muslin the equivalent of shoulder seams definitely wanted to lie towards the back. So I move the seam slightly towards the Front (widen Back Yoke & narrow Front Yoke).
  4. Flatten shoulder curve: The muslin also shows weird bumps at the biceps as if the sleeves were mis-shapened set-in sleeves. I rather it look like slouchy kimono sleeves. So I flattened the shoulder curves on the Yokes.

For my wearable muslin made in a rather unstable cotton interlock from Tia Knight / Tissu Fabrics I stopped here. For the final reversible sweater I made some minor changes:

  1. For a more slouchy yet elongating look…Lengthened the bodices & sleeves, and exaggerated the high-low hem a bit more. I also smooth the transition of the hem at CF & CB for a less overtly edgy look.
  2. Cut Front & Back bodices on straight-grain on the CF/CB fold. Not sure the bias in the original adds anything if you’re not using a fabric with obvious pattern for that symmetrical chevron look. For mine it would just gobble up precious fabric & leave me not enough for 3 garments + 2 accessories!
  3. Because I want mine to be reversible & my fabric is too thick / spongy to double up, I cut the Yokes off at the fold lines.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • For the Wearable Muslin I followed Burda’s illustrated instruction exactly. And I kind of regret it. The stay tape on the Back Yoke-Bodice seams feel restrictive when I slouch / reach forward. It may be due to my alterations, I don’t know. Anyway, this step didn’t suited me. So in my final Reversible Sweater I omitted the stay tape on the Front/Back Yoke-Bodice seams.
  • And the obligatory Oops: This would have been a really quick make had I known ahead of time that the zipper wasn’t going to work with my sweater knit. The invisible zip worked fine in my Wearable Muslin (though I don’t seem to ever wear it unzipped). But for some reason the reversible zipper I used for the the final make was too stiff for the fabric. I did put it in, then had to take it out & redo the seam like on the other side. So in the end my Reversible Sweater has a symmetrical funnel neck. And I should have sewn in this order…

The Verdict

I like the sports lux feel of the final make. It reminds me of Alexander Wang aesthetic. Looking at the photos, I’m still not 100% about the silhouette. But it certainly feels very cozy & comforting to wear! And I got a slouchy-day wearable muslin along the way. I wear that like other non-office-workers wear their sweats. It most certainly is in heavy rotation around here 🙂

I think my fitting/design tweaks worked well.

  • Moving the styleline away from the fullest part of my upper torso was definitely the right thing to do. While my middle is still short & wide (in the side view), at least this sweater isn’t shouting about it.
  • And slimming the bodices & sleeves down in the process was a plus. It still has a ‘Relax-fit’. I can’t imagine how huge this would have been if I hadn’t done this. Maybe the original width would have worked in a drapier fabric. For my fabric however I think this sizing is just about right.
  • Lengthwise I probably have added back most of the length I removed from the Yoke to the hem, except in the CF. This does look a tiny bit short. I might lengthen CF next time. (This could also be due to the fact that I didn’t make any FBA. But I still haven’t decided where I sit when it comes to FBA on a slouchy oversized design – would it make the garment way to big?)

So yeah, overall I think it’s a pattern I could make again – when these two went to garment heaven, or if the perfect fabric comes along.

Reversible Burda 2013-11-117 Jacket

Next up is the jacket. Because one was planned in my SWAP Fall/Winter 2014 even though I ended up using neither of the pattern candidates & was perfectly willing to sacrifice the idea of a jacket when I decided maybe a pull-over would suit this fabric better. I was lucky my frugal layout allowed me to squeeze in a Burda 2013-11-117 jacket which I had made once before.

The Pattern

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt; 2 Self-drafted pencil skirt, Burda 2012-05-109 top; 3 Self-drafted petticoat skirt; 4 Self-drafted mock-wrap skirt, Burda 2015-10-109 sweater, Self-drafted hat, Self-drafted mittens;

Size Used

34 rather than recommended 36.

Changes Made

My starting point this time is the altered Burda 2013-11-117 I used for the Teal + Brown Floral Print Reversible Moto Jacket. To recap, part from modifying the bodice to fit my torso better, I also eliminated the peplum waist seams & changed the sleeve fit to a more conventional jacket sleeve look rather than the extra long & tighter fit of the Burda design. More details about these fitting alterations in this post.

Fitting changes
  1. The fit of that Teal/Brown jacket was a little bit off in the back neckline with a bump of fabric just below the CB neckline. Seems like the CB was too long & back neckline too wide.  Removing the equivalent of a vertical CB neckline dart + horizontal fish-eye dart seems to fix this (see photo illustrations above). The back neckline in the collar areas of the Center Fronts were shortened to match.
  2. The back collar wasn’t sitting right, exposing the back neckline seam. Pivoting at the shoulder-neck point & effectively increasing the length of the outer / bottom edge of the collar seems to fix this.
  3. Although the waistline is technically correct where it was, my low-hanging boobs & short-torso above waist make this placement look unbalanced. My intention to lengthen the bodice got lost in the piles of pattern alterations, so I had to extend the narrowest bit of the bodice down a bit instead. Still look a bit off though.
  4. Narrowed back waist a little bit for a less-boxy fit.
Design changes
  1. Zip closure on both sides

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

2-steps a

  • Again, apart from the general sewing problems I had with this fabric, the other main tricky bit are the zipper princess seams. I did these the same way I put in the zipper on the skirt – with mock flatlock seams that are essentially overlocked edges to fake the flatlock look, then zipper & princess seams assembled with hand fell-stitches. The rest again is fairly straightforward, though the shoulder – back neckline – shoulder seams were much harder to flatlock than the teal / brown jacket because of the spongy fabric.
  • And the Oops?
    • Well, I forgot that the two zippers should be one on each side of the reversible jacket. I was so smug having neatly inserted both zippers on the orange side – it looked so satisfyingly symmetrical. Thank God I basted & tried on & discovered I couldn’t zip both zippers this way. Rip & redo time!
    • The other drama came in form of zipper tape choice. Originally I was going to use the tape from Quest Outfitter’s waterproof one-way separating zipper. This has one presentable shiny side which I thought could do away with the need for something to hide the zipper tape & finish the collar edge on the reverse (black) side. Unfortunately separating tapes always has the slider on the left side of the teeth. So I couldn’t reverse it & still get the same look for left & right sides of the jacket. I had to go back to a standard separating tape that looks the same on both sides of the tape and petersham ribbon to cover the zipper tape / finish the collar edge on the revers (black) side. All this added lots of extra waiting time &  shipping costs. Bah.

The Verdict

It’s OK. I would have liked the jacket a little bit longer. And I was all out of ideas in terms of styling. But I know I’ll wear it plenty. Just like I wore the Teal/Brown version plenty. It’s so comfy without the usual tailoring that goes into a standard jacket. And it’s got just the right amount of lux (thanks to the fabric) & edge (thanks to the pattern) to keep me happy.

But I think next time I want a biker style jacket I might try a new pattern. Two of  this huge collar one are probably enough for a while. Maybe when these two are ready to go to garment heaven then I might make this pattern again.

Reversible Muppet Mock-Wrap Skirt

Let’s start with the one that actually sort of went according to plan shall we?

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted raglan T-shirt; 2 Self-drafted ruched-bust T-shirt;

WORN WITH: 3 Zara blouse, Self-drafted detachable-sleeve jacket; 4 Burda 2015-10-109 sweater, Burda 2013-11-117 jacket, Self-drafted hat, Self-drafted mittens; 5 Self-drafted ruched-bust T-shirt, Burda 2013-11-117 jacket;

WORN WITH: 6 Burda 2013-02-121 Sweater; 7 Refashioned sweater; 8 Burda 2012-09-123 T-shirt;

The Inspiration, Design & Pattern

Inspiration & Design:

So this was supposed to be sewn for SWAP Fall/Winter 2014 . The starting point was the sweater knit. I was feeling rebellious & wanted biker chic…pencil skirt, front slit/vent, asymmetry, exposed zipper…AND reversible.  That was the vague idea. The devil was in the details. What exactly did I wanted & how can I make it happen. Here are some of the inspirations I collected…

- SWAP2014aw-1I ended up with this when I planned the SWAP – a princess line wrap pencil skirt with asymmetric hem. Princess line because to make it reversible with a single layer of fabric, I settled on flatlock seams & overlocked hems. And I then had to ruled out darts because I wasn’t sure they’d look good in my spongy fabric with flatlock seams. Wrap skirt because I ruled out simple side front slit as being too risqué.

When I actually started drafting the pattern this year, I was inspired by the reddish brown Reiss wrap skirt above to omit the princess line on the front overlap piece, and utilise the unsewn dart to exaggerate the asymmetry.

Block Used:

Princess Seam Pencil Skirt Block, which was derived from my 1-Dart Pencil Skirt Block.

Design Changes Made

  1. Eliminated CB seam & redistribute the dart allowance to Back Princess Seams & Side Seams.
  2. Reduced the ease at Back Princess Seams in the Hip area. The knit is puffy already. I might as well take advantage of its stretch property & go for a more streamlined silhouette, especially since I don’t have the booty to do that ease justice.
  3. Left Front is two-piece with a princess seam: 1 CF piece + 1 Side Front piece. This is the top flap when worn with black side out. As the flap closure will be a simple hook & bar at the waist, the flap edge on CF is extended straight up rather than curve along the waist dart so the flap will hang straight.
  4. Right Front is one-piece spanning 1 CF piece & 1 Side Front piece. This is the top flap when worn with orange side out. The flap closure on this side is the exposed zipper, which extends down to just below the hip. So the flap edge can incorporate the waist dart curve.
  5. The hem is raised all around from Left Front flap edge to Right Front side seam, then slopes down to create asymmetric hem in the front.
  6. To remove the gap in the waist created by the Right Front’s lack of waist dart, I pivoted it clockwise. I’m a bit fuzzy about the logic, but I think the dart wedge is moved to the hem (see the triangle formed by the thin red solid line & dotted line in the left bottom of the last pattern illustration above), but shows up as a slanted gap opening up from zipper bottom downward. Anyway, this pivot exaggerates the asymmetric hem further.
  7. 2-steps-d The OOPS: Originally the waist also had an asymmetric front created by step 7. But after I sewn the skirt up & tried it on, I changed my mind. It just didn’t work because my choice of overlocked waist edge, messy zipper stop finishing, and an initially over-tight petersham waist facing on the black side. The leveled black side waist looked better. So I redesign the waist to have level waistline on both orange & black sides by chopping off the blue bits in the pattern illustrations above.
  8. Finally, the seam allowances, urgh, the seam allowances. Most were straightforward once I decided on the seaming technique: For the flatlock seams I use 1/8″ seam allowances so that the 1/4″ flatlock stitches is centred on the seamline. The overlocked hems needed no hem allowances. The problem is the exposed zipper. This did my head in. How much to deduct for the width of the exposed zipper – ie where are the seams exactly. Then how much to add back for the seam allowance. How to do this so the transition to the vent looks tidy on the orange size & hides the zipper altogether on the black side. I ended up sticking to the 1/8″ SA for the Left Front princess seam, then moved the seam line on Right Front just over 1/4″ inward (towards CF) giving me this amount for the exposed zipper. I added back this amount for the seam allowance along the zipper, then 1/4″ hem allowance for the overlocked hem edge below the zipper.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

Apart from the general sewing problems I had with this fabric, and the waistline design Oops mentioned above, the only other tricky bit is the zipper princess seam / vent. I wanted the zipper to be hidden on the black side, which means the tape had to be trim down to fit into the 1/4″ flatlock seam. I wasn’t confident I could flatlock this, especially as the overlocker’s foot is a bit wide. So I had to fake the flatlock alongside the zipper by overlocking the fabric pieces separately, then baste the CF + zipper + SF, then hand fell-stitch the fake flatlock in place on both the orange & black sides. The Left Front princess seam below the zipper I ended up flatlocking because I couldn’t be bothered to do more hand sewing than is necessary, and it’s neater by machine.

The rest are fairly straightforward & most of the steps are illustrated in the above construction photos. Not shown is the waist finishing. This is just tiny hem allowance turned to the black side & covered by the petersham ribbon which is fell-stitched in place along the top & bottom. It’s my standard skirt waist finishing for skirts without a waistband.

The Verdict

Well, MR isn’t a fan of the Muppet orange side. And I was tending to agree with him…until this photoshoot where I ended up having more fun & styling ideas for the orange side than the black side.

It’s also a really warm skirt. Maybe a tad too warm. Except from the exposed knee down. But when worn with tights the Front bunches up most ungracefully. Static perhaps? So I can’t really wear this until I make myself a half-slip.

And as we’re on the impractical / unearthy wavelength, please indulge me another hippy style shot, the result of mucking about with a new app on my phone called PicsArt.


Remind me never to buy furry mohair again!

Well, what was suppose to be fun pick-me-ups turned into a marathon slugfest. I must have finished all five of my funky-knit projects at least a couple of weeks ago. But every single one hit a snag. By the time the last one was done I was too sick of them to blog straight away. My subsequent project – another foray into pants/trousers-making – didn’t fare much better. So I have to accept that I’m in a sewing funk. And it would be better to tie up the loose ends with these unsatisfactory projects (by finish blogging them) so that I can start afresh when my sewing mojo returns.

What went wrong…

Some problems are common to all the projects, I’ll tick them off in one go:.

  1. So much unpicking urgh! To sew more accurately I had the furry sides together. But this caused velvet-like creeping despite every seams being basted first. Tape or glue wouldn’t have work with the furry surface. I had to bite the bullet & redo where it didn’t come out right.
  2. Mohair is really too itchy for me. They look so seductively soft. But like most (all?) wools, they still have scales. I have no problem so far with faux fur. But every mohair fabric I’ve tried made me twitch.
  3. f_OB 2 stitch 2My choice of stitches – flatlocked seams & overlocked hem – didn’t work as well on this fabric as it did with the felted Teal + Brown Floral Print Reversible Moto Jacket. Even though this fabric doesn’t really fray much, the cut edges nonetheless have little thread-bits that look untidy. It didn’t help that I chose a less dense stitch setting to so the seams would look more in keeping with the tweedy look of the black side. I can only count my blessing that the untidy edges are somewhat obscured by fuzz on the orange side, & kind of works with the rustic feel of the tweedy black side.
  4. I made many design miscalculations & construction mistakes which I’ll detail in the project posts.
  5. Notions that didn’t work out. Machine that conspired. Cack-handed manual sewing. etc etc.

All in all it felt as if Mercury was retrograding. I can’t tell if the Universe was telling me to take a break from sewing or challenging me to persevere. I persevered, as despite these challenges I still feel like sewing is the only thing I’m somewhat good at nowadays.

Tips & lessons learnt…

Flatlock seams

f_OB 2 stitch 1I didn’t show-n-tell the flatlock seam last time I used it, so here’s a WIP shot showing how it works (for those of you who finds it scary-looking like I did before I tried):  Once stitched on the overlocker, gently pull the two fabric layers apart at the seam. If one layer of seam allowance won’t pull flat (folds onto itself), gently tease it flat with a large blunt stick like a plastic sweater knit needle. For these two-sided projects, I flatlocked with the orange sides together (black side out) with orange threads in the needle & lower looper & black thread in the upper looper. Once stitched, the top black side has black stitching & the bottom black side has orange stitching. But once pulled apart, the orange stitching is pulled into the orange side.

Unpicking Flatlock & Overlock stitches

As I had to do a lot of these, thank God there is an easy way to do this. For the 3-thread flatlock seams I clip & pull the lower looper thread which sits at the cut edge of the seam allowance. Then the longer needle & upper looper threads come away easily as continuous threads. For the 3-thread overlock hems I clip & pull the needle thread which is short horizontal stitches away from the cut edge of the seam allowance. Then the upper & lower looper threads come away easily as continuous threads. Sometimes I have to do the clipping at more frequent intervals to be able to pull them out more easily – eg every 2-3″.overlocker-stitches-unpick-1

Putting a twin-pull zip slider on a nylon coil tapef_OB 2 notion-3

This goes on more smoothly if you align the slider to the tape correctly. The YKK twin-pull reversible slider (#5043) from Quest Outfitters that I used actually has two different inner sides to the slider – a flat side & a ridged side. I didn’t notice this initially, so tried to put the slider onto the tape any old way & couldn’t pull the slider on. Once I noticed this subtle difference it made sense to match the ridged side of the slider to the right side of the coil tape – ie the side with the protruding visible coil – and the flat side of the slider to the flatter wrong side of the coil tape. And presto, the slider goes on like duck to water!

2-piece ‘Jumpsuit’ (Halter Top & Style Arc Antoinette Trousers)

The hissy two-part shimmering black snake finally hatched. I tried really hard to get her to this year’s Jungle January Party, but Brain Freeze said No. It didn’t help that I picked two styles of garment that I haven’t tried before. And even she’s made with my Mom’s Kabuki sized top & skirt, there still wasn’t enough fabric for things to go according to plan. So neither part came out as I had hoped. But as they’re memories of Mom, I’ve styled them as best as I could & hope to wear them loads when the weather’s warmer.

Style Shots & Mug Shots




WORN WITH: 3 Burda 2012-05-109 lace applique top; 4 Miss Selfridge jeans; 5 McCall 6078 cowl neck top; 6 Refashioned RTW leopard skirt; 7 Refashioned Mom’s RTW tibra-ziger skirt & sash


The Design & Pattern

The design started with the drape of the fabric. I thought this slinky knit would be perfect for the side bow tie halter top design that has been stuck in my head like forever. I think I first saw something like this on TV, then on the high street. But now I can’t seem to find a perfect specimen to show you. The closest are these:


I was originally planning on using a floral silk Mom gave me, but I was worried that its floatiness would make the front neck gathering (& its inhabitant) too puffy. I felt safer testing the design with this limpy knit. So that’s Mom’s Kabuki top taken care of.

As for the Kabuki skirt, turning it into another shape of skirt would be too easy. And too prim & proper for me. I needed edge. Another vague idea floated up from my primordial soup of mental clippings: matching trousers for a ‘jumpsuit’ look. Ding ding! I get to try a look that I otherwise wouldn’t go near. While I admire jumpsuits on other women, I can’t square with having to strip to go to the loo. This way I get the look without the loo hassle. Plus I multiply my wearing options. Win-win!


This was draped on Q. I actually sorted the trousers pattern first. And after struggling to fit the ready-made pattern into what I thought would be enough fabrics, I was in no mood for more of the same. Only the front neckline was gathered. The back I kept sleek & went for a slight A-line at the side seams. The neckband I ended up keeping simple & made the bow tie a separate sash for extra wearing options. But now it doesn’t work so well as a bow tie for the top. Win some lose some. The tie this time was made from only one sleeve. The other sleeve was sacrificed to the trouser pockets.


Style Arc Antoinette Pants


…Chosen because it had a bit of slouch & a bit of sleek, so hopefully would fit on the unpicked skirt panels. This is the first time I tried a Style Arc. Love what bloggers like the Clothing Engineer achieved with their patterns, but was put off by the high cost & single size paper pattern format. What if I pick the wrong size? Luckily the Style Arc Etsy shop sells cheaper PDF version of the pattern in multiple sizes. While the multiple sizes are not nested – you’ll have to print out each size separately – at least you won’t have to pay & wait for another size if your first choice isn’t quite right.

I did have to tweak the fit of the trousers, but as I made mine with a knit instead of a woven, it seems pointless to list the changes in details. I may need to tweak the changes again if I make this in a woven or even a different knit. Suffice it to say I needed crouch reshaping, waistline reshaping, and shifting inseam & side-seam slightly towards the centre to get rid of major wrinkling under my bum. I also had to adapt my pencil skirt block to make a replacement waist facing that fits my body shape better. Unfortunately I forgot about the ease in the skirt block, so the trousers hang lower than I wanted.

BTW I moved the zip to the side seam because I just can’t get my head around CB zip on trousers even though I have no problem with CB zip on skirts. But it’s partly about convenience for sure. It’s easier to see what I’m doing with side zips & hooks. And as I grow stiffer with age easier to reach too. For zips that get zipped & unzipped more frequently (think loo again!), these little practical details matter!

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • There were a lot of making it up as I go along. Like figuring out what need to be interfaced or stablised. I think I might have overdone it with the stablisation of the armholes and crotch. The top end up being shorter than when draped originally. The trousers would have been a bit tight in the crotch if the trousers hangs an inch above my belly button as intended, but luckily (?) it hangs lower thanks to built in waist ease.
  • Unfortunately even with the trousers hanging lower than intended the length still wasn’t long enough (due to lack of fabric). I had to add length at the hems with scraps, which unfortunately were on a different grainline. Hopefully it’s not too noticeable, or if it is doesn’t look too odd.
  • All hems were faced with the skirt lining Georgette because (A) I didn’t have enough of the slinky knit, and (B) the glittery bits of the slinky knit is rather scratchy. Most were bias tapes to conserve fabric.
  • Style Arc Antoinette Trousers instruction: This was clear enough for an intermediate sewer like me. It’s a bit on the short side (like Burda), but has diagrams for the tricky bits – like the front pleats (not sure if these were added after JamieDFC’s review on Denver Sew). What still is a bit of a problem is front facing peaking out due to the weight & bulk of the pleats. So like PoldaPop I also tacked my front facing discretely in the pocket / pleat area. That’s something so easy to forget when designing or picking a design – the force of gravity. I’m sure this is not the first time garments go unintentionally lopsided because someone forgot that extra bits of fabric or embellishment also add weight to one side which needs to be balanced somewhere else if the garment is to hang as intended.
  • Sash: I didn’t have enough of the slinky knit to do double layer sash as I normally do. So one side is the skirt lining Georgette. I was worried the slinky knit will grow more than the woven Georgette cut on grain, so it was stablised with ProTRICOT fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply – chosen because of its claim that it won’t interfere with the drape. The result is softer than the other interfaced bits, but for this super limpy slinky knit the drape does stiffen a little. Still works for this sash though.

The Verdict

Because the top is shorter and the trousers hangs lower than expected, I’m a bit on the fence with this refashioning project. I mean they’re still wearable, but the slight disappointments killed any desire to jump up & down in this psuedo jumpsuit. And does it counts as refashioning when none of the original design feature or sewing were reused?

Regardless, it’s still a piece of Mom with me. But I think I need to move on & get back on track with my SWAP, or at least sew with my own fabrics. It’s quite depressing too to be constantly reminded of Mom, or her absence rather. I’m still not getting the hang of grieving yet…